Jennifer Bosworth is the author of Struck, a YA novel set in post-earthquake Los Angeles, a city full of cults, prophecies and Mia, a girl with a fatal attraction to lightning.
1. I attended your amazing talk at the 2012 SCBWI Conference – The Conspicuous Writer: Helping Readings Discover Your Work. How did you score that gig?
I made threats that if they didn't put me on staff I would spike the Purple Haze cocktail at the Hippie Hop with LSD. And when that didn't work, my agent pulled some strings.
Actually, I never would have thought I could make it onto the SCBWI conference staff, but my agent, Jamie Weiss Chilton, who used to be one of the conference organizers, suggested I write a few proposals for breakout sessions and panels just to see if they’d accept me. I chose topics I had some insight into, wrote my proposals, and my agent sent them in. I was quite pleasantly surprised (and terrified) when they accepted my Conspicuous Writer proposal and also put me on a success story panel. I have chronic “I don’t deserve this” syndrome.
2. The amazing Struck book trailer screams professionalism. Any advice for us amateurs about creating book trailers?
One of my favorite topics! I could jibber jabber about this subject all day, but I’ll keep my advice brief. I want to speak specifically to live action book trailers, because that’s what I chose to create for “Struck.”
- When writing the script for your book trailer, don’t try to deliver a synopsis. If potential readers want to know what your book is about, they can read the jacket copy. Trailers should help them feel what the book is about, and live action trailers especially need to pack a punch, so pick the most visually compelling scenes to adapt, and write theme-based copy rather than plot-based.
- Hold a casting session and pay your principle actors, even if it’s only $50 a day. Casting is one of the most important parts of a live action book trailer, because this is often where potential readers will get their first introduction to your characters. A bad actor or a miscast actor can alienate a reader. Also you’ll widen your pool of available talent if you offer compensation.
- Music is your best tool for manipulating the audience, so don’t choose sleepy, classical music unless you want the audience to take a nap. There’s no shortage of music licensing sites online where you can find inexpensive options for music that won’t cause narcolepsy.
3. Have you ever had a close encounter with lightning?
I've never been struck by lightning, but I did have one strange experience while I was working on “Struck.” I’d just finished a long revising session and was heading to bed. I looked out my bedroom window, and I got a strange feeling. Then a bolt of lightning flashed through the sky right outside my window. There weren't even any clouds that night. I swear I’m not making this up. You believe me, don’t you? Don’t you?!
4. Your main character Mia mentions a lightning strike triggering the Puente Hills Thrust Fault. I’ve heard of the mythical earthquake weather, but I haven’t heard of lightning effecting fault lines. Where did you get this idea? (Any complaints from seismologists?)
So far no complaints from seismologists, but I’d love to get a professional’s take on the possibility of lightning causing earthquakes. The truth is, no one really understands lightning, and it can do amazing, inexplicable things. Scientists can argue with that, so they might also have a hard time arguing with my fictional science.
5. Do you think the end is coming? Do you have a personal “End of the World” scenario?
Have you seen “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”? Because if you watch it, you might be convinced that the world has already come to an end.
Seriously, though, I don’t want to believe the end is coming, but whenever I watch the news, I can’t help myself. I have a survival plan for an earthquake in Los Angeles, but my husband keeps drinking our earthquake water, and I keep eating our Progresso soup when we run out of groceries. I don’t think we’re going to last long. My backup plan is to learn how to make moonshine so I have a trade that will increase my post-apocalyptic, societal value.
6. Some years ago, I dreamed of a Los Angeles basin covered in garbage. Gray sky. No people. Just garbage obscuring everything. On the beach, possibly Santa Monica, I saw tires mounted on pylons rising up above the garbage field like monuments. Should I worry?
Yes. Absolutely. If there’s one thing my main character, Mia Price, and I have in common, it’s that we expect the worst. Now I’m worried that you’re having psychic visions and my city will soon be a wasteland.
Side note: I checked an online dream dictionary and it said: to see piles of garbage in your dream represents rejected or unwanted aspects of yourself.
The Management would like to thank Jennifer Bosworth for granting this interview. For more about Jennifer, visit her website.
Plus don't miss Jennifer's appearance at the Orange County Children's Book Festival, Saturday, September 30th.
Your Foreign Correspondent here: Jennifer's a swell gal and wrote a great book, so you better buy her book at your local independent book store.